After an exciting couple of days in Udaipur, my mom and I set off to Jaipur. Our seven hour car ride flew by as we peered out the windows of our car and took in all of the countryside. We stopped for lunch at a farm in Kharwah and ran into a couple from Los Angeles. The woman worked in Reality TV and has been a producer on shows like Undercover Boss and the Amazing Race. I mentioned that I too had worked in reality television when I was on the show “Popstars” back in 2001. What a small world! Seeing two people from Los Angeles who work in the entertainment industry in the middle of a small farm town in India is just mind blowing to me.
When we arrived at our hotel it was early evening and the hotel grounds were impeccable. We were greeted warmly and settled into our beautiful rooms for an early night. The next morning we met our local tour guide Vikram and driver Nandu and made our way to the Amber Fort. It was massive. We took an elephant ride to the entrance of the fort and it was so much fun I couldn’t stop smiling. After our elephant adventure we explored the ruins of the fort and took in the beautiful views.
Next, we were invited to go to Nandu’s house to meet his family and celebrate the kite festival, an annual event where people of all ages blast music and fly colorful kites. It was seriously one of the most joyful experiences I have ever been a part of. I was so happy in that moment and I will never forget it.
The next day we went to the Astronomical observatory in Jaipur. It is the largest observatory in India. The artistry in the structure was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Vikram, our tour guide, expertly guided us through the structure explaining Vedic Astrology. He explained that before marriage the astrological charts of a couple are studied to ensure compatibility. I think we should adopt this policy in the US because it definitely couldn’t hurt with the skyrocketing rate of divorces. Next we visited the Palace of Jaipur which had an excellent Museum full of artifacts from the past Maharagis (Kings).
After the tour of the Palace we feasted on an Indian lunch while having our palms read. It wasn’t a great surprise to hear that both my mom and I are overly emotional. The palmist was spot on in that assessment. He also said that my talents lie in the arts and that I have a gift for writing. What excites me most is that when he mentioned I was very spiritual I told him I had just finished a three month stay in Amma’s Ashram. He smiled and proceeded to pull out a picture of Amma. He too shares a love for my amazing spiritual teacher.
Next we visited an incredible jewelry store where the charismatic owner gave my mother a deal on a beautiful necklace she couldn’t pass up. Since I am not a fan of expensive jewelry I watched their exchange with amusement while using the time to write the blog you are reading right now. Before we left I was in the mood to sing after having a couple of King Fisherman beers at lunch, so I belted out Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” as a parting gift.
We ended our day street shopping for bangles and bindies at The Balu Bazar. We were guided down the busy streets by Vikram who showed us the best stores with the best deals. Walking through the street market was an experience in itself since the place was filled with electric energy. There were horns honking, store owners shouting out deals, and the smell of Indian street food permeated the air. It was the perfect end to an excitement filled day.
As we said our goodbyes to our local guide, he extended the invitation to stay with him and his family if we return to Jaipur. Our guide, driver, and all of the many people we have met throughout our journey have made us feel like part of their families and that is what I will remember most about Jaipur, the glorious pink city of India.